Ten of Wands Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations
The 10 of Wands marks the completion of one, or many, cycles within the element of Fire and the beginning of a new cycle. The element of Fire, represented by the Suit of Wands, symbolises energy, passion and drive. It is the fire that burns in the home and within the engines of our transport and industry. The 10 of Wands is a collection, or a gathering together, of projects and jobs in the home or the work place for the purpose of moving ahead on something new. Smaller projects or plans maybe the individual blocks of a much larger and more ambitious project which is what the 10 of Wands symbolises. The 10s in tarot tend to include more than one person unlike the solitary natured 9s and this card's appearance is more likely to suggest a collective effort rather than an individual one.
Numerology reduces 10 to a 1 (1+0=1) and this connects Tarot's 10s to its Aces. The difference being that the Ace symbolises something entirely new without any prior existence. The 10 also has the symbology of something new but built upon one or more previous cycles.
The artist of the the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck, Pamela C. Smith, has taken her inspiration for the 10 of Wands from oldest known 78 card Tarot deck's 10 Of Swords. The Sola Busca Tarot depicts a man placing 10 swords in a bag attached to a manger ring on a wall, his body is in the same position with his head down. In 1907, two years prior to the publication of the RWS deck, the British Museum received photographs of the complete Sola Busca tarot deck which they put on display in London where Waite and Smith were based. Many details from this old deck have been re-used in the RWS, the 3 Of Swords being almost identical. This symbolic theme of the collectiveness of the number 10 was passed over for the RWS 10 of Swords in favour of the 10 of Wands but it is worth remembering these alternative interpretations when intuitively feeling for the correct meaning and interpretation of either of these cards. The image depicted in the RWS 10 of Wands often gives an initial impression of a man struggling to pick up and carry 10 long sticks which leads to the common interpretation of being overburdened or having taken on too many projects at the same time.
The 10 of Wands, 10 of Rods or 10 of Batons, is a card of heavy burdens, long term ambitions and large projects. The element here is Fire which relates to energy, drive, home, community and work. The number 10 in numerology, like the 1, is symbolic of something new but different because it is built upon something else, something that already exists.
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
A man oppressed by the weight of the ten staves which he is carrying. Divinatory Meanings: A card of many significances, and some of the readings cannot be harmonized. I set aside that which connects it with honour and good faith. The chief meaning is oppression simply, but it is also fortune, gain, any kind of success, and then it is the oppression of these things. It is also a card of false-seeming, disguise, perfidy. The place which the figure is approaching may suffer from the rods that he carries. Success is stultified if the Nine of Swords follows, and if it is a question of a lawsuit, there will be certain loss. Reversed: Contrarieties, difficulties, intrigues, and their analogies.
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